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Without a doubt the most challenging and rewarding project I have ever worked on with installation challenges to overcome..

.. but to be able to design a bathroom that actually changes someone’s life is a humbling experience. “ David Aspinall

Brief: To design a Bathroom and Ensuite for a client with limited mobility. Independence and safety were of course top priority but our client also wanted rooms that weren't noticeably designed for their individual requirements, they wanted rooms other family members could enjoy without being faced with obvious mobility aids.

Design Process: David started the process by asking the question “what makes a bathroom feel like a disability bathroom” and the main thing that changes the feel of a bathroom are the grab rails. With this in mind David made the grab rails his starting point for this design as they play such an important role in assisting mobility.

After observing the client in his home, and understanding his needs in greater detail, it became apparent that while grab rails are helpful, they would only help in part. This is because using a grab rail places all the upper body weight on one joint, the wrist, which can be difficult if you have weakened joints. David wanted to come up with a solution that would take the weight and disperse it over a greater area. Originally gaining inspiration from flying buttresses used within cathedral architecture to help take the weight of the roof, he then had a moment of inspiration and remembered archery, where the weight of the bow is transferred over the forearm so that all the load is not placed on the small wrist joint.

David used this principle within the bathroom and by slightly recessing the grab rails into the walls he created a rail that didn’t need to grabbed but instead, a hand can be placed on the rail whilst the forearm rests ergonomically against the wall, naturally spreading the load over a greater area.

To make sure the rail height and recess depth were perfectly positioned Bluey, our installation manager, built a full-size model in our warehouse for our client to try out. David then used the preferred dimensions to create a bespoke grab rail that becomes the main design aesthetic in the room.

The bespoke towel rail by Bard and Brazier was designed to work in conjunction with the grab rail and emphasise the design aesthetic. Similarly, the bespoke glass shower screen has also been designed to follow the design focus and the grab rails also act as stabilising bars so the lines of the rails aren't interrupted. Large format tiles (3m x 1m) were chosen so there are only two grout tile lines on the floor which is a better format for wheelchair use -(it took 3 men to carry one tile up the four floors!)

The installation was a real labour of love for our team, David worked closely with the clients to ensure the room was a usable space that also looked great.

David's client said: "“We were determined that our bathrooms would not only work for disability but would also be beautiful and stylish. David and Sapphire Spaces absolutely fulfilled the brief and we are delighted with the end result.”

If you have any requirements that need a more considered design for members of your family, then do get in touch.